Learn how to keep your own gardener’s diary
by Pat Bowen
January 24, 2013 11:55 PM | 1485 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Patricia Bowen<br>Cherokee County Master Gardener
Patricia Bowen
Cherokee County Master Gardener
One easy way to improve your gardening success is to keep a diary, a gardener’s diary, that is. Not only will it help you avoid making the same mistakes over and over; you can expand on the things you’re doing right. It needn’t take much time. Just keep track of all the things you’re already doing in the garden, why you’re doing them, what issues have occurred and what results come of it. Include garden diagrams, what worked well in what location, and what didn’t. You can make it a fun historical document as well, especially if you’re in the same home for several years. I enjoy looking back on notes I’ve kept, like the year the box turtle kept eating my strawberries – she was the only critter who could comfortably crawl under my garden fence through the chicken wire barrier. Some tips to get started on your own gardener’s diary:

* Include plans for the upcoming gardening season, either in graphic form or just lists, maybe with some photos from catalogs or websites to check out. If you have some notes from years past, this is a good time to refer to them. Include what you like: flowers, shrubs, trees, vegetables, ground covers…. even yard art and décor.

* Take notes as you would for a regular diary. For instance: ‘March 1st, a sunny cool day, we trimmed the butterfly bushes. Also did a soil test for the vegetable garden and tilled in 5 pounds of lime.’ Include things like location of new plantings, fertilization, weed control, watering schedules, unusual weather patterns so you can look back on them and make adjustments in future seasons.

* You can keep lists of ‘things to do’ which can be chores, or things that proved successful in the past like a new fertilizer that contributed to more abundant flowers in your containers. Also, you can keep track of ‘things not to do’ like keeping invasive herbs out of your main garden.

 * Keep lists of products that have been effective, and others that seemed a waste of time and money. Note what you used them for (specific weeds, certain veggie fertilizers), how often you used them, where you purchased them and even how much you paid for them.

* Keep track of how long the sun shines and what the soil composition and drainage are in different parts of your yard so you can install appropriate plants. Along with that information clip out pictures of different plants that look well together because of color, height and texture, or veggies that have common care requirements and what their sun, soil and watering needs are. Once they’re planted and matured, log in on your level of satisfaction and make notes for future adjustments. * Keep track of what worked and what didn’t through out the year (and why, like weather conditions, too much fertilizer, pests, etc): what grew well in what location, and what didn’t, and why you think that occurred; garden pests and diseases you encountered and what you did about them. Your gardener’s diary can be a little piece of history for you and your family, full of memories that will be cherished and used by you for years and years, and for future generations of gardeners.

Information about Extension Solutions for Homes and Gardens can be found on the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension website at www.caes.uga.edu/extension/cherokee or by contacting the Cherokee County Extension Office at 100 North St., Suite G21 in Canton at (770) 479-0418. The Georgia Extension Master Gardener Program is a volunteer training program offered through county offices of the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension.
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